Can you have joint legal custody without joint physical custody? 6 Answers as of November 17, 2010

My wife and I are in the process of getting divorced, and she is planning to move home when we are done which is 1,000 miles from where we live now. We would both like to stay involved in the kids lives, but I do not want to upset their lives by having them move all the time. My wife does not like the idea of having them live with just me, but she also understands that it would difficult for them to spend equal time with both of us, and I think she will let them stay here most of the time. I am fine sharing legal custody with her but having joint physical custody just seems impossible. Can you have one without the other?

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Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
You can have joint legal and not joint physical, but you would need primary physical. If you need representation, call and make appointment
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Law Office of Teresa Beyers
Law Office of Teresa Beyers | Teresa Ann Beyers
Yes, joint legal custody is when you jointly share in the decision making of the minor children. Joint Physical is when the time share the children actually have with each parent.

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Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
Yes. In fact that is the norm. Usually parents share joint legal custody and then have a parenting plan that splits physical custody (time with the kids) in any one of many different lopsided ways.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Yes. In California, you can share legal custody with your wife, while at the same time, you are the primary "custodial" parent, while your wife is the "non-custodial parent." It doesn't matter that your wife will have less (or even much less) custodial time due to geographical limitations (i.e., living far apart). As long as the two of you can communicate and cooperate, then there is no rule that prohibits joint legal custody just because one parent moves out of state. Legal custody has to do with making decisions for the children about school, health care, religion, etc. Physical custody has to do with who the kids live with as the primary parent. Hope that helps.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/15/2010
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
The amount of custodial time that each parent has does not affect the concept of "joint physical custody." Usually, the parent with more custodial time is the primary physical custodian. The other parent can still be deemed to have joint physical even if their timeshare is quite small. I wouldn't worry too much about the labels, just on the actual timeshare.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/15/2010
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